Did they have a pet onboard?
Dwarves were a principled race. If they said no, that meant no. No matter how many times they would be asked, they would always adhere to their decision.
“What is a bald chicken?” Qiao Zhiya asked in confusion. He had always thought that these unlearned words sounded a little strange.
Chu Rong, who was mad, paused, released his collar, took two steps back, and leaned on the operating table with his arms folded. He covered his emotions with a cold expression, tapped his fingers on his arm, and replied, “It’s just a modal particle 1[Modal particles are uninflected words used to add mood to the meaning of the sentence.] to express emotions… Don’t change the topic. I’m asking you a question, don’t you like mechas very much?”
The tone of those words was quite strong to just be a modal particle… Qiao Zhiya foolishly threw the question of bald chicken to the back of his mind. He returned to the topic at hand and honestly replied, “I really like mechas.”
“So?” Chu Rong looked down at him, with the idea that he would throw him out of the mecha if he didn’t give a satisfactory explanation.
Qiao Zhiya glanced at him, making sure that he calmed down and could listen to his explanation, and said, “It’s good to be a mecha fighter, but I want to learn to build a mecha more than to drive it.”
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Ubw Ssdt’p byde wple vs vyr bkp yax pvsrrle. Tl qasodle yde ypjle, “Ps usw oydv vs zlyad bso vs nalyvl xlnbyp?”
“Vascyczu.” Ckys Hbkuy vbswtbv qsa y obkzl yde ydpolale.
“Ebyv es usw xlyd, rascyczu?” Gdnlpvsa Ubw oyp ps ydtau cu bkp hytwl ydpola, yde bl pyke, “Bdnlavykd nsdnzwpksdp pbswze dsv cl pyke zktbvzu, lprlnkyzzu vbspl alzyvle vs vbl ekalnvksd sq uswa qwvwal nyalla.”
“Mblal’p ds wdnlavykdvu. R’x fwpv wdpwal ycswv vbl elvykzp.” Ckys Hbkuy bye clnsxl ynnwpvsxle vs bkp cye vlxrla yde oyp dsv qaktbvldle cu bkp cye yvvkvwel yv yzz. Rdpvlye, bl pvlrrle qsaoyae, zssjle yv vbl xlnby nsdpszl bl oyp zlydkdt sd, alynble swv, yde tldvzu vswnble kv, “Ebyv R oydv vs zlyad kp vbl nalyvksd sq rwal xydwyz eakhkdt xlnbyp, dsv vbl vayekvksdyz xlnbyp. Yyucl sdl eyu, R nyd cwkze y rwal xydwyz eakhkdt xlnby vbyv kp nsxrzlvlzu pwkvyczl qsa usw.” Tl zssjle yv bkx, y zkvvzl lxcyaaypple, cwv okvb y zkvvzl nsdqkeldv pxkzl.2[Iakp Dkyd: Mbkp kp ps pollv.]
Tl yzoyup alxlxclale vs alryu vbl Ebkvl-Tykale Ysdpvla yde bkp vlyx. Mbl qykzle valyvxldv kd vbl xleknyz assx ulpvlaeyu xyel bkx wdelapvyde vbyv nwakdt vbl Ebkvl-Tykale Ysdpvla’p ekplypl oswze cl y zsdt yde ekqqknwzv rasnlpp. Mbl svbla ryavu’p prkakvwyz rsola oyp yp hypv yp y ply sq pvyap. Tsolhla, bkp xytkn rsola oyp sdzu vbl pkgl sq y pxyzz zyjl. Jlqsal bl alyzzu clnyxl pvasdtla, vbl Ebkvl-Tykale Ysdpvla’p pkvwyvksd nswze sdzu cl nyalqwzzu xykdvykdle, cwv bkp ekplypl nswze dsv cl nwale.
Mbl svbla rlapsd blzrle bkx ps xwnb, yde bl yzps oydvle vs vau bkp clpv vs es psxlvbkdt qsa bkx. Gqvla zkpvldkdt vs Qaydery Sld’p osaep, bl pyo y dlo ekalnvksd vs ryu cynj.
Ylnby xydwqynvwakdt 3[…yzps jdsod yp xlnby nalyvksd.]— y qklze vbyv nswze rlaqlnvzu elxsdpvayvl vbl nalyvkhkvu yde prlnkyzkvklp sq eoyahlp. Tl oyp nsdqkeldv vbyv bl nswze tlv psxl pxyzz alpwzvp kd vbkp qklze. Ebld bl nswze alyzzu cwkze y rsolaqwz xlnby, lhld kq bl bye dlhla alynble vbl zlhlz ycshl vbl talyv xytknkyd yde nswze dsv nwal vbl Ebkvl-Tykale Ysdpvla’p ekplypl, bl nswze yv zlypv blzr vbl svbla vs psxl lmvldv okvbkd bkp yckzkvu.
Tl yzps bye psxl plnalv zkvvzl okpblp. Rq bl nswze, yqvla alryukdt vbl Ebkvl-Tykale Ysdpvla yde bkp ryavu, bl oswze zkjl vs vau vs eakhl vbl xlnby bl xyel, vbaswtb vbl czynj bszl, yde alvwad vs bkp bsxlvsod.
Chu Rong didn’t expect to hear such an answer. His eardrum was itchy by the phrase “for you,” and a strange sour and sweet emotion rose in his heart. He didn’t know how to react, so he just laughed at the “stupid” smile he revealed. Without hesitation, he raised his hand to pinch his face and pulled badly, until the expression on Qiao Zhiya’s face was completely distorted. He said in disgust, “No matter who told you about manually driving mechas, one thing you must understand is that all mecha creators are excellent spiritual geniuses before entering the field of mecha manufacturing. The whole Federation, including welfare colleges— which are the least selective of students, will not admit a student who has no spiritual strength4[…also known as spiritual power, mental strength, or mental power.] into the mecha manufacturing department. Without spiritual power, you won’t even be able to do the most basic material processing, let alone build a complete mecha. Little demon, mecha creation is not as easy as you think.”
“Building mechas also requires spiritual power?”
His dream was pierced as soon as it took shape. Qiao Zhiya was a little lost and stammered, “But, Grandpa Ren didn’t say…”
“Grandpa Ren, you mean Ren Moze?” Chu Rong inquired. Seeing him look pitiful and deeply shocked, the anger in his heart was completely extinguished. He raised his hand and rubbed his forehead. He stretched out his arm in comfort to pull him into his arms, and said, “That old man is a research lunatic. You should only believe half of what he said. Hold on. I’ll take you to pick up stones” After that, he opened the hatch and jumped out.
Qiao Zhiya reflexively grabbed his clothes around his waist, still somewhat confused. It required spiritual power to make mechas, that, that… but he had just confidently drawn a huge pie.
Thinking of the heroic words that he just put down in front of the White-Haired Monster, his ears shook and his face tensed. His body stiffened like a stone, while his face and ears were red with shame.
—It’s a shame to talk without knowing the situation.
Probably seeing his embarrassment, Ancestor Chu was rarely considerate and did not continue to tease him regarding this. Instead, he stopped after taking him to a wasteland full of stones of various colors and found a large rock nearby to rest on. He then signalled him that he could move around freely and enjoy himself as much as he could.
Qiao Zhiya took a careful look at him. Just as he was about to suppress his embarrassment and ask about the principle of mecha manufacturing with spiritual power, he keenly sensed a wave of magic.
His expression changed into concentration, turned his head, and looked around the wasteland. He fixed his gaze in a certain direction and forgot everything about the mecha in an instant. After hurriedly informing him, he strode towards his target. His heart was beating very fast — magic stone! There was a magic stone fluctuating in that direction! Top grade! He felt it!
Chu Rong half-leaned on the rock and watched how he couldn’t wait to run away. He was unhappy once again and said, “Country bumpkin5[土包子 refers to a person who has never seen the world.].”
Qiao Zhiya followed the magic wave to the edge of the wasteland. After a careful inspection, he focused his gaze on a small plant growing out of a crack in the stone. He was stunned. How could the strong magic wave radiate from this small plant? This, this was incredible!
His eyes widened, somewhat in disbelief and somewhat in foolishness.
How could such a small plant emit the strong magic wave that could only be found in top grade magic stones? Was it due to mutation? Or was it bearing a peculiar fruit guarded by a magic beast?
As soon as he thought about it, he noticed that there were many such stone plants farther away, and immediately put the latter guess behind him.
Peculiar fruits usually appeared alone, not everywhere like this.
So it should be a mutation?
He squatted down, leaned close to the plant, tried to gather some magic, and touched the top of it with his fingertips.
As if sensing a friendly aura, the plant gently swayed its slender body after being touched by him, and then happily absorbed the wood magic power he rubbed over. It stretched its leaves comfortably. He watched it become more energetic.
It was really magical! It interacted with him, completely different from the stupid big-leaf plant in his room!
He glanced at his fingertips that had been rubbed. He remembered the magic array that had been laid in his room before which he used to nourish green fruits. His face flushed red again. This time, he was excited — whether it mutated or not, this plant was a big surprise!
Before, he tried to cultivate a green fruit with the magic array. His purpose was to improve the wood magic elements contained in the green fruit, so as to use it to make basic magic potions to alleviate the disease of White-Haired Monster!
He had speculated before that the soothing effect of the green fruits on spiritual power was because their pulp contained rich wood magic elements. Later, the healing effect of wood magic on the White-Haired Monster’s spiritual power proved his conjecture.
However, the magic elements in plants had little effect on the human body when they were eaten directly. It was far from being as useful as a medicine! Moreover, the magic elements carried by plants were limited, and most of them were not qualified to be made into magic potions. Even if some were barely acceptable, the amount required to make a potion was huge. It may not be possible to collect a bunch of ingredients to make one.
The green fruit was already the plant with the strongest magic content he encountered since he came here, but it was scarce. It was not enough to make a potion, and he couldn’t get more, so he used a new method to increase the magic content in the green fruit.
But now, this magical plant had solved this problem! With this, the magic potion could be made at any time. He didn’t have to bother with the green fruits anymore! Another thing was that when the Purification Magic Array caused the White-Haired Monster’s spiritual power to fluctuate. Once he created the magic potion, it would no longer be a problem!
Thinking of this, he was about to float in happiness, and couldn’t help feeding some more magic power to the plants in front of him.
Chu Rong opened the message sent by Fan Xiangnan. He glanced sideways at Qiao Zhiya, who was squatting on the ground not far away, and didn’t know what he was doing. He was so excited that his ears trembled. He squinted and enjoyed the warm sun in the afternoon, and replied wilfully: ‘Postpone our time of return.’
Fan Xiangnan was used to his willfulness. Without asking why, he directly asked: ‘Until when is the postponement?’
Until when is the postponement?
Ancestor Chu was basking in the sun with an unreadable expression and moved his fingers.
—’It should be postponed until the pet is done walking around.’
Fan Xiangnan put down the communicator and touched his chin— did they have a pet onboard?
It took an afternoon of using magic to bring back a batch of plants. Chu Rong brought a red-faced Qiao Zhiya back to the warship, who then immediately locked himself back to his room.
After waiting for him to walk away, Zhuang Yu glanced vigilantly and suspiciously at the Chief who exuded satisfaction, and asked with caution, “Where did you6[您 is a courteous form of “you.” Zhuang Yu, Fan Xiangnan, and others usually talk to him that way.] take QiaoQiao for this afternoon? Sir, it is written in the Federal Law that abduction of an underage child is punishable by imprisonment!”
Chu Rong stopped, looked sideways at her, and raised his eyebrows. He inexplicably thought about something, and suddenly asked, “Where is Master Ren?”
“Master Ren?” Zhuang Yu trembled with fright because of his expression. She took a step back and replied, “Old Ren doesn’t walk around the warship very much. At this time, he should be researching new weapons in the mecha maintenance department. Do you have something to ask him?”
“There should be.” Chu Rong adjusted his cuffs, his footsteps changed direction, and walked towards the mecha management department. He vaguely replied, “A big matter, nonetheless.” Daring to snatch someone right under his nose, Mr. Ren was probably a little idle lately.
Taking out the green fruit from the magic array, Qiao Zhiya sat on the floor next to the bed, took out the magic potion manufacturing method left by his father in the storage ring, and buried his head on it. When he saw a difficult vocabulary, the modal particle that the White-Haired Monster said in the afternoon suddenly popped up in his mind. The more he thought about it, the more he got bothered. In line with the principle of not missing any uncommon word, he put down the medicine manufacturing method, took out his light brain, tuned to the voice search, and spoke the two words “bald chicken”7[It’s three characters (秃毛鸡) in Chinese.] according to his memory.
A second later, the page loaded and rows of cartoon videos showed in the search results bar.
Huh? What were these? He reached out to open one of the videos in doubt.
The screen zoomed in automatically, the music sounded, and after the colorful balloon special effects passed, a cartoon chicken with a hairless head and small pockets appeared on the screen, and lively yelled at him.
He touched his hair, looked down at his thin body, and finally stared at the lively cartoon chicken in the video for a few seconds. His lips tightened and forced back the half-read magic potion manufacturing method back into his storage ring!
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